If you decided to build a house, you may think you know what you’re in for. We all know it’s going to be hard. There are a lot of ways to avoid future pain by planning ahead. 

We’d like to help you, and write a bit about 6 best tips that will make your life easier when trying to estimate the cost of building a new house. Some may seem obvious, but some are tricky and worth knowing before you begin. Read on:

Include much more than exact costs

If you are calculating just the labour and materials, think again. Sometimes, it’s necessary to provide a lot of extras, depending on whom you hire and what type of contract you sign (or not sign). Thinks like portable toilets, disposing of construction waste, mobile scaffold tower hire, cement mixer hire, or even any required insurance policies and other random equipment cost can make or break your budget. 

Ask your architect 

There is one person who should know your new building brick by brick in terms of materials needed - and that’s your architect. 

A lot of architects will offer you a rough estimate of the material costs - you should take it with a grain of salt, however. Remember that the perfect materials that your architect envisioned for his project might not be on the market, or be hard to find. 

They might also be more expensive than planned or simply not available at the moment. You may be forced to make a decision to substitute certain materials for others, causing the final price of the project to slide up or down - depending on the changes made. Think about outdoor lighting ideas. A good lighting ideas can boost up your architecture.

Your architect may give you a price per square meter before committing to a project - always make sure to ask how much this may vary from start to finish, and don’t be too surprised by slight variations.

Ask your construction team

Your construction team will have more information about costs that you can plug into your overall formula. This will include not only the inevitable cost of labour but make sure to ask about any hidden fees. Some contractors will require you to make a lot of the necessary purchases, and if this is sprung upon you at the last minute, you may not be able to plan ahead and find the best deal out there. 

And remember that sometimes, the cost of labour may change as well, depending on the amount of workers your contractor brings to the site. It’s always a good idea to sign a clearly written contract at the beginning, in order to avoid any surprises later. 

Everything has a labour cost, from laying tiles to putting on the final layer of paint. If you decide to finish some things on your own, remember to include that in the final cost as well. Time is money, and your time is certainly worth a bit of the budget. Your money driving to and from the building site, ordering lunch and going out for coffee - this should be included, or at least acknowledged as a cost.

You may want to think twice about attempting to accomplish more advanced construction tasks if you’re inexperienced when it comes to manual labour. It may just be cheaper - in time, frustration (and damages!) to hire professionals. 

Get a cost range 

Remember to get a wide possible cost range and hope for the worst. It pays to be a pessimist when it comes to budget planning. You will be ready for the worst case scenario, and won’t be left high and dry.

This is especially a good idea if you have a tight schedule. Do you need to move out of your old flat or in-laws house by a specific date? Is it negotiable? If something goes wrong, can you afford to speed up construction later? Or will you be left high and dry with no planned funds? 

Trust us - a little bit of pessimism can go a long way when it comes to estimating construction costs. If it doesn’t go according to your black vision, you will have money and time left over. 

STILL have a backup plan

We cannot stress enough how crucial planning and organizing is when it comes to budget estimation. Don’t just get one estimate. Get three. From a few different professionals, from different parts of the county. 

You may be surprised at how the costs may vary. It doesn’t mean that anyone is trying to cheat you. It just means that there might be different forces at play for different contractors or sellers. Maybe contractor A has a father in law in the lumber business, and gets good prices, and constructor B has been in the business longer and gets better deals for his materials. OR better still, maybe seller C owns all of his delivery equipment while seller D has to contract delivery out to another company, making the construction materials you buy more expensive? 

Get as many estimates as you have time for, and get the better deal. 

Learn how to use Google Sheets

If you happen to be a professional chef and you thought your school days of learning how to use spreadsheets are over - think again. 

Developing your own database of costs will help you keep track of everything, from what you’ve spent on construction materials, labour, waste removal, random expenses and much more. It can also help you add up costs, see how much money you have already spent by category, and, if you like graphs and pie charts, this might be a satisfying pace to create some. 

Maybe once you’re done, you can have them printed and mounted above the mantelpiece? 

Happy Building

If you stick to these tips, the road ahead shouldn’t be as daunting as it was 10 minutes ago. We hope we helped to put your mind at ease, at least a little. If not, we understand - building your own home is a once in a lifetime venture for a lot of people, and can be a very challenging adventure. But there are a few things as rewarding as seeing a new home being constructed where there was once nothing.